Through Our Eyes: Race Relations in Ontario
Through this project, the Mosaic Institute sought to connect with diverse community groups to hear their individual recommendations on how to improve race relations in Ontario.
Our findings, captured in this report, offer concrete, actionable steps for a variety of decisionmakers in public, private, and civil society. We are deeply grateful to all who participated in the project, for their time, expertise, and trust.
Racial and ethnic plurality are at the heart of what it means to be Canadian. We are unquestionably one of the most diverse countries in history. Whether we are an inclusive country is the question of our time.
Arguably, our national mission is to build a country where every person enjoys an equal share of human dignity, where we recognise that we are stronger together not in spite of our differences, but precisely because of those differences. But there is a world of difference between a national aspiration and a national mythology.
This report, compiled by the Mosaic Institute in consultation with 11 community members, is meant to provide a clear-eyed assessment of the perceptions and realties of race relations in the province of Ontario.
We began with the findings of the landmark study Race Relations in Canada 2019: A Survey of Canadian Public Opinion and Experience. We then convened community organisations from across Ontario to respond to the findings. In particular, we asked them to offer guidance to public policy makers on what we are now called to do, to fulfil our shared mission to build an inclusive, just, and strong province and country.
As Ontarians and Canadians, we often assess our social progress by casting our eyes south of our border, and rarely do so without a sense of self-satisfaction.
The past four years have stripped Americans of their illusions. But they have also caused too many Canadians to clasp our own illusions still more tightly to our chests.
Most recently, we have looked on with disgust mingled with condescension, as assorted racists, extremists, and domestic terrorists stormed the US Capitol. They called themselves patriots, while waving the banner of Confederate treason. They carried signs praising the “thin blue line”, while bludgeoning a police officer to death. They shouted their love of America, while screaming hatred at Americans.
It is easy to reassure ourselves that these horrors could never happen here. It is far too easy. Many Americans, too, told themselves that such things could never happen in their country; they are not saying that anymore.
As Ontarians and Canadians, we can certainly take pride in the province and country we have built together. But just as certainly, we deceive ourselves if we believe that our task is complete, or our success is assured.
Building an inclusive society is a sleepless struggle against social entropy and decay.
We have come far. We have far to go. We hope this report will help us chart the path.
Akaash Maharaj, CEO of the Mosaic Institute
For more information, contact Rachel Mansell at 416-644-6000 ext 680
This project is part of a series of dialogues, research, and action initiatives, on race relations in Ontario. For more information, see the series announcement here.